S. Korea's 'Host' a monster at first Asian Film Awards

Earns nod for best film, three others

South Korean monster movie "The Host" swept the inaugural Asian Film Awards on March 20, taking prizes for best film, actor, cinematographer and visual effects (HR 3/21).

The awards opened the third annual Hong Kong Entertainment Expo, bringing international attention to 10 films made east of Egypt and giving prestige to the biggest film festival on the calendar between Berlin and Cannes.

The winners were chosen from a field of 65 nominees drawn from 700 entries made in countries from Iran to Indonesia and Japan to Singapore. The event was organized by the concurrent Hong Kong International Film Festival.

" 'The Host' is showing in China right now, and this award will help it get more of an audience," producer Choi Yong Bae said in accepting the best film award. Director Bong Joon-ho's film has topped China's boxoffice for the past two weekends and grossed about $90 million worldwide.

Mainland Chinese helmer Jia Zhangke thanked his mother in accepting the best director award for "Still Life." "I love you, mom," said Jia, whose film about changes brought on by China's Three Gorges Dam project won the Golden Lion last year at the Venice International Film Festival.

Although nominated for best actor for "I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK," pop star Rain (aka Jung Ji-hoon) lost to "Host" star Song Kang-ho, who received his award from Michelle Yeoh and Japanese director Koreeda Hirokazu.

A complete list of Asian Film Awards winners can be found at www.hollywoodreporter.com.
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